Purse sent-off as Argyle crash to defeat
FLEETWOOD TOWN 3 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 0
CAPTAIN Darren Purse was sent-off after an off-the-ball incident as Argyle crashed to defeat at Fleetwood, writes Chris Errington.
Purse, 35, was shown a straight red card after his uncharacteristic loss of composure in the 78th minute and will be banned for the next three matches.
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Argyle were trailing 1-0 at the time after a second minute goal from striker David Ball, and with Purse went their chances of grabbing an equaliser.
Centre-back Curtis Nelson conceded an own goal in the 80th minute before Fleetwood midfielder Junior Brown made it 3-0 in stoppage time.
Argyle have now gone six games in all competitions without a win.
It increases the pressure on manager Carl Fletcher, whose side are getting dragged into yet another relegation scrap.
Argyle were without striker Rhys Griffiths because of injury so Nick Chadwick was recalled to lead the attack with Warren Feeney.
It was Chadwick's first start since the 0-0 draw away to Dagenham and Redbridge on August 21.
Otherwise, it was the same starting line-up as for the 2-2 draw with table-topping Gillingham at Home Park last Saturday.
Burnley loan signing Alex MacDonald was among the substitutes for the Pilgrims.
Fleetwood included former Argyle midfielder Damien Johnson on the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury.
There was a recall to their team for on-loan Blackpool attacker Tom Barkhuizen.
The 19-year-old was borrowed by Hereford United for the 2011/12 season and scored a goal in each of their games against Argyle – both 1-1 draws.
Chadwick almost scored within 20 seconds of the kick-off after some dreadful defending from Fleetwood's Steve McNulty.
The centre-back tried to chest the ball back to goalkeeper Scott Davies but was unaware Chadwick was behind him.
Chadwick tried to slot the ball past Davies but he made an excellent sprawling save.
The first goal was not long in coming, though, as Fleetwood took the lead with a goal from Ball after only 90 seconds.
Ball headed home from close range after a long throw-in from Barkhuizen was not cleared by the Pilgrims.
It was almost 2-0 to Fleetwood in the 11th minute when Barkhuizen broke forward and set up Ball for a chance inside the penalty area.
Gilmartin partially blocked Ball's shot, but it needed a goal-line clearance from right-back Durrell Berry to come to the rescue for the Pilgrims.
Purse then had to make a strong, sliding tackle when Brown raced into the box in the 14th minute.
Fleetwood could not turn their early dominance into further goals and, gradually, the Pilgrims started to assert themselves.
Paris Cowan-Hall was particularly lively on the right of midfield, forcing Davies into two smart saves either side of the half-hour mark.
The final chance of the first half came in the 45th minute when Argyle were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out after a foul on Jamie Lowry.
Midfielder Luke Young tried a low shot and Davies got his body behind the ball to make a good stop.
Gilmartin made an excellent save from midfielder Barry Nicholson early in the second half after he received the ball from Blackpool loanee Barry Ferguson.
Argyle's first substitution came in the 53rd minute when Warren Feeney was replaced by MacDonald.
Chadwick continued to lead the attack with MacDonald playing in a withdrawn role behind him.
Nicholson had a shot inside the box blocked by Onismor Bhasera before MacDonald fired a 25-yard free-kick into Fleetwood's defensive wall.
That came after an excellent run from Cowan-Hall, which was ended by a cynical trip from Nicholson, who was booked by referee David Webb.
Fleetwood sent on Johnson for Nicholson in the 69th minute as the game became littered with fouls.
It was very much stop-start and that did Argyle no favours in their attempts to force an equaliser.
Tempers were becoming frayed and Purse was booked for one raised arm challenge on midfielder Jamie McGuire before he was sent-off in the 78th minute after an off-the-ball incident involving the same Fleetwood player.
Webb checked with both of his assistants and dismissed Purse with a straight red card.
That will lead to a three-match suspension for Purse, starting with the trip to Bradford City on Tuesday.
Fleetwood then took a 2-0 lead in the 80th minute when a cross from substitute Curtis Obeng was slid into his own net by Nelson.
That was harsh on Nelson who had put in a strong defensive performance for the Pilgrims.
Fleetwood then completed the scoring in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Brown slotted home at the near post after a low cross from Ball.
FLEETWOOD: Scott Davies; Shaun Beeley, Steve McNulty, Youl Mawene, Dean Howell; Barry Ferguson; Tom Barkhuizen (Curtis Obeng 59 mins), Barry Nicholson (Damien Johnson 69 mins), Jamie McGuire, Junior Brown; David Ball.
Substitutes (not used): Jamie Milligan, Lee Fowler, Alan Goodall, Chris Maxwell, Alex Marrow.
ARGYLE: Rene Gilmartin; Durrell Berry, Curtis Nelson, Darren Purse, Onismor Bhasera; Paris Cowan-Hall (Maxime Blanchard 84 mins), Jamie Lowry (Guy Madjo 75 mins), Conor Hourihane, Luke Young; Warren Feeney (Alex MacDonald 53 mins), Nick Chadwick.
Substitutes (not used): Jake Cole (gk), Joe Lennox, Andres Gurrieri, Scott Griffiths.
REFEREE: David Webb (County Durham)
GOALS – Fleetwood: Ball 2mins, Nelson (og) 80 mins, Brown 90 +5 mins; Argyle: None